How to Monetize Instagram

Instagram continues to be an important touchpoint for creators to showcase their visual brand. There are several ways to make money with Instagram, but they all come with caveats. Below is a quick guide of everything you need before you start trying to monetize your Instagram.

Can you make money on Instagram?

You can, but Instagram monetization takes time – you'll need to build a strong, loyal following before you can monetize and see real money.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

There are ways to make money on Instagram with a few thousand followers through brand deals, but you generally won’t start making a living wage without hundreds of thousands of followers, which continues to be a downside of trying to monetize Instagram as your primary platform.  

Quality followers are often more important than quantity, but there are some features that are only available once you hit a specific follower threshold. For example, Instagram's tipping tool for IG Live, requires creators to have at least 10,000 followers.

How to grow and maintain a quality audience

It's natural to feel uneasy about monetizing your following. You might worry about potential backlash from your followers. But, thousands of creators monetize successfully and you can too. Here's how to monetize without "selling out."

Be authentic

Above all, you should stay true to your profile's original purpose. Remember why your audience chose to connect with you and follow you over time. And when it comes time to monetize, continue providing your audience with value. Recommend products and sell merchandise that you love and will be valuable to them.

Create sponsored posts that are in line with your post history

When negotiating sponsorship deals, make sure your audience can relate to and derive value from what you intend to promote. Selling yoga mats to a target audience for a cooking channel would be confusing and ineffective. Your Instagram posts should be in line with your content and speak to your audience's interests, desires, and needs. This will not only help you stay true to your audience but also land better sponsorship deals.

Focus on working with brands you truly like (don’t say yes to every sponsor)

Keep in mind that with Instagram posts, you’re not only promoting the brand in question, but you’re also showcasing your own brand image to your followers. If a brand is giving off red flags, or if their product doesn’t meet your standards, give the sponsorship deal a pass. It's not worth risking your relationship with your followers.

How to monetize your Instagram posts

Make Reels

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Introducing Reels in 2020 was Instagram’s response to TikTok’s widespread success with video content. Unlike stories, Reels don't vanish after 24 hours – and public Reels can appear on the Instagram explore page, helping reach audiences beyond your own followers.

Reels have longer life cycles, improved discoverability, and an engaging format. They keep users in-app longer, making them more favorable for Instagram’s algorithm. However, Instagram has received user backlash recently for its software updates focused on discoverability and video content. The fate of Reels is up in the air, but currently it’s the best video format to monetize.

Try out Instagram Badges

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Instagram badges on Instagram Live videos are another helpful way to make money. They’re a digital analog of tipping. When Instagram viewers purchase badges, you see hearts next to their usernames in the comment section. 

Viewers who see your live videos can buy single or multiple badges worth $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99. Be sure to thank them during the live sessions. However, like mentioned earlier, you need 10,000 followers to qualify for badges.

Create sponsored content

Marketers have a 520% return on investment with influencer marketing. Thus, brands are willing to invest in effective Instagram accounts. Like-minded brands will collaborate with you through sponsored posts if they think it’s worth the investment.

If you think you are a good fit for a brand, but aren’t receiving any incoming requests, reach out! There’s no harm in a professional email pitching your ideas for sponsored posts.

How to sell products on Instagram

Become an affiliate

Instagram doesn't have its own affiliate program, but you can strike affiliate deals with brands. In affiliate marketing, you'll get a commission on the sale of each product. You won’t make a living wage with affiliate marketing, but it can be a relatively simple way to make some extra money.

It’s important to think about which products can provide your audience with genuine value, and look for brands that have a similar offering. You can then promote these products to make money, and your superfans will thank you for it.

Sell your own products

Your Instagram followers are potential customers – if they've committed to investing in your brand, they're more inclined to buy merchandise or products, too. Instagram shopping is helpful for small business owners and creators who might not have the resources to launch a physical store.

Instagram shops are a digital storefront for your products. This ecommerce platform requires a Business or Creator account on Instagram. Users can create collections and group items in themes like new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends, etc. Similar to other ecommerce platforms, Instagram Shop lets you create product descriptions with relevant information.

However, Instagram makes it difficult to convert sales. You need to create content specific to promote your shop, or your followers have to already be interested in buying your products when they reach the Shop button on your profile. Getting discovered on Instagram’s Shop tab is nearly impossible with an endless stream of products to choose from. That’s why we added a fully-customizable Shop Tile to Tellie. With this tile, you can turn a simple website into an immersive store in your branded venue. Within 2 weeks of updating their Site with a Shop Tile, record label Future Gods sold 6x more vinyls over the entire previous year! You can also embed a Shopify store for direct checkout right on your page.

How Tellie helps you monetize Instagram

Tellie is the fastest, easiest web2 and web3 website builder that helps you own your content, community, and creative destiny.

Promote multiple products and pieces of content

With Tellie, you're not restricted to promoting one product or piece of content at a time. Instead, you can embed your most valuable content and products on one landing page and promote it from your Instagram bio. You can embed 2,000+ sites & apps by pasting a link–driving streams, follows, ticket sales, merch sales from Shopify and more on your Tellie page without fans ever leaving your Instagram bio.

Aggregate all social media platforms to build superfan community

Tellie helps you build a superfan community by allowing you to embed all of your social media channels as interactive embeds in one branded landing page. That way fans can explore your content, build a connection, and follow you on every platform all from one spot.

Build a website optimized for selling

With Tellie's Shopify integration, you can list and sell products directly from your Tellie website. No more sending your followers back and forth across platforms – they can explore and check out directly from your site.

Conclusion

While Instagram may have options for monetization, they are limiting and not widely available for everyone. You will also need to invest time and effort in building a successful personal brand before you can get started making any real money.

In just a few minutes on Tellie you could get yourself ready to truly monetize your brand. You can free yourself from the restrictions of growing a following and feeding an algorithm. With Tellie, you can promote multiple products and pieces of content while building a website optimized for selling. Head to join.tell.ie/waitlist to sign up for the Tellie Waitlist today.

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